By Matt Dawson
Nothing is celebrated quite like a wedding. Even today, it’s one of the most expensive, joy filled, dream-fullfiing events that we experience as adults. After you add on the honeymoon, it’s pure bliss. We send out invitations, we post announcements in the paper, we create online webpages that celebrate the big day. The wedding ceremony is something we invite EVERYONE to attend. The celebration (or reception) we host is a huge party! In some cultures, this party goes on for several days.
However, after the public celebration wains and life gets complicated many marriages feel as if they are alone in their struggles. It’s humiliating or shameful for some when they realize 1 year, 5 years, or even 11 years down the road that marriage is harder than expected. That their spouse has changed, or circumstance are causing division, so they isolate themselves. They keep their problems a secret, they hide behind fake smiles and old memories of better days. What was once a celebration for the world to see, their real marriage (the struggle) is hidden and they feel shame and guilt if someone finds out.
Marriage is hard. Sooner or later, the honeymoon ends and the real work begins. However, nothing should be more important than to get the help necessary to breathe life back into your marriage. Jesus brings absolute hope to a marriage that invites him to be the center, but the invitation MUST be made and the hard work MUST be done by you and your spouse. It’s too important to keep a secret… it’s your marriage – a reflection of God to a watching world!
This weekend, we’re going to discuss the miracle that Jesus performs in a married couple’s life soon after they were married. Jesus is the absolute Hope for any marriage that is willing to invite Him to address the issues they hide from others. I hope you will join us for the conclusion of our 1>2 Marriage Series.
By Don Gentry
Intimacy is the key to making your marriage last for the long haul and keeping it enjoyable along the way. I have seen many miserable couples stick together. While I admire their fortitude there isn’t a bit of their marriage I desire. The kind of marriage I want to have and that I want to model is the one where the husband and wife still love and adore each other all the way to the grave. That kind of marriage takes work, intentionality, and forgiveness. A marriage that stands the test of time is one that is built upon true intimacy.
Josh Squires wrote a great article on the topic of intimacy. You can read the article by clicking on this link. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/marital-intimacy-is-more-than-sex. The title of his article is Marital Intimacy is More Than Sex. He goes on to give the five types of intimacy and why each of them are important and how they are all interrelated.
Why do I give you this article? Because intimacy at all five levels is crucial if we are ever truly going to be one as God is one. Marriage is supposed to reflect the image of God. Dysfunction and divorce is not the reflection that God has desired for his followers. Yet too often that is the reflection that we model to the world.
Redemption/forgiveness (you can’t have one without the other) is truly the greatest gift that God has given to mankind, but I believe he gave us redemption so that we could model it within the covenant of marriage. We need to learn how to become vulnerable in our marriages in all five areas that Squires talks about if we want to reflect the image of God.
Read the article and honestly assess where you are at in your relationship with your spouse. Use a 1-10 rating scale in each of the five areas. Score yourself and then have your spouse score your relationship. Once you have an accurate picture of where you are in your relationship, determine to move your score up one point this month in one or two of the areas. Don’t think you are going to go from a 5-10. Marriage and intimacy takes work and intentionality.
If you really want a marriage that lasts and one that is fulfilling, then it is going to be found in this idea of intimacy. You can only control your own efforts but even one person working towards intimacy in a marriage can yield great benefits. When two of us are working towards intimacy then marriage becomes a reflection of immense beauty.
We hope to see you Sunday as we continue to uncover the beauty that God designed in marriage!
By Zack DeBerry
By Zack DeBerry
Marriage is one of God’s greatest designs for Human Beings to enjoy here on earth. The truth, however, is that as beautiful and great as Marriage is, it requires work, respect, and vulnerability. The hardest thing to do in the marriage relationship is to remain vulnerable in the times that we are hurt or disappointed in our spouse.
The truth is that true intimacy in marriage will only come when we are willing to be vulnerable with each other and risk everything for the sake of knowing our spouse completely and being known completely by them. It is scary and hard to be willing to lay everything out there and allow our spouse to see us exposed for who we really are, what we really think, and what we really feel.
In Genesis, something happens in the context of the marriage that changed how vulnerable we are willing to be. At the end of Genesis 2 we see the words, “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.” They were naked, the most vulnerable you can be and they were not ashamed. Then comes Genesis 3, where sin and deception entered in and we see this beautiful picture of vulnerability change. After the deception of the serpent we read these words, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.” They no longer felt safe to be completely vulnerable.
We have been fighting this change since then in the marriage context. The truth is that we will only experience intimacy to the degree we walk in the redemption of Christ. Only when we view ourselves and our spouse through the lens of redemption can we be completely vulnerable again. As we allow our spouse to see us as we truly are, then we can begin to experience a deeper intimacy as God designed it to be.
We will continue our 1>2 series this weekend at Journey Church. I hope to see you there or feel free to join us online.